Namibia culls 10 'dangerous' elephants to protect farmers, crops

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FILE PHOTO: Foreign tourists in safari riverboats observe elephants along the Chobe river bank near Botswana's northern border where Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia meet

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Wildlife authorities in Namibia culled ten elephants over the past month after they moved into farming areas and destroyed crops during harvest season, a spokesman said on Saturday.

The animals were shot after they endangered human lives in the north of the country and were marked as dangerous, said Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism spokesman Romeo Muyunda.

He said the decision was necessary to protect farmers and their crops. The carcasses have been given as compensation to community members whose harvests have been damaged.

"Normally during this season people are terrorised by elephants. We had no choice but to be proactive," Muyunda said, adding however that problematic elephants can only be put down if no other solution can be found.

Like a number of other African nations, Namibia has grappled with balancing protection for species like elephants with managing the danger they pose when they encroach on areas of human habitation.

The country has enjoyed international support for a conservation drive that has seen its elephant population grow from just over 7,500 in 1995 to 24,000 last year, according to government figures.

(Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by Emma Rumney and James Drummond)

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